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Blog Posts by: Ester Casado

Ester Casado

Today we all got up early; we began leaving our beds since 5 in the morning to contemplate the spectacular view offered by the cliffs of Algarve's coast. Of course, this place has suffered the same urban abuse commited in any touristic place along the peninsular and insular geography of Spain.

Our entry to the Lagos marina is solemn, as we pass in front of the ancient fortress, which we reached through a natural channel and going under a drawbridge. A life size reproduction of an old caravel confirms to us we have arrived at port.

As you know, we have had rough seas, with the blowing hard on the prow side of the ship. By the end of the day, the weather improved. It is surprising how fast climate conditions change in the ocean. In a matter of hours, the situation can go from calm seas, without seabreeze in sight, to a storm, and vice versa. Although we know about the influence the oceans exert on the planet climate, it is in these circumstances when you really appreciate the dynamics involved, and how the sea as a whole is a living entity.

Today, we encountered a small turtle swimming all alone. This reminds me that we are navigating on marine turtle’s main migration route.

Map

Until relatively recently, the life cycle of marine turtles was unknown and it was not until 1986, when the American biologist Archie Carr-one the foremost experts on marine turtles in the world-published his theory that turtles nested on beaches of North America followed a round migratory journey along the Atlantic, using Gulf Currents. I say round journey, because the turtles come back to nest at the same beach where they were born. In 1993, Spanish researchers Ricardo Aguilar, Julio Más and Xavier Pastor-two of them are Oceana members-corroborated this hypothesis, adding new data on populations of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ester Casado

During last night guard duty, the only new development was the proximity of a merchant ship that came close from the port side of the Ranger. Their potent headlights caught us by surprise, and it made us think it was a fishing boat; but they turned the lights off, and kept only the normal lights on. The ship kept coming closer and Bibi identified it as a merchant ship, so it was appropriate to establish radio communication with them to confirm our position.

“ Ship in position 35 degrees 17N and 26 degrees W, this is the Ranger. Do you copy? Over ".

“ Ranger, Ranger, ship in position. I copy. Over. ” They answered alter a brief wait. Whew!

“ We are at 2 degrees from your starboard ” Do you see us? Over

“ Yes, I see you, no problem ”

“ Ok, thank you and have a good watch. Stand by channel 16 ”

They had seen us, so our possible concern was gone.

My first nocturnal guard duty has provided for a perfect lesson taught by Bibi, though young, she is a highly qualified sailor, and with her fresh personality and serenity, she has instantly gained my trust. Throughout my three- hour guard dury shift, Bibi has taught me how to keep watch for any anomaly that may occur along the route, check for wind speed, or keep an eye on the horizon for some ship.

Sinto Bestard

Our arrival at Horta (Faial) marks a new shift of crew members, but crew members at the Ranger are used to changes and always welcome new additions with a smile. Houssine, the underwater photographer, who was with us from the fist day, had to go back home for family reasons. Carlos and Guayo also left us, to take care of activities at the office. Two new sailors have embarked: Xose Manuel Gándara, a Galician based in Pontevedra, whose passion is sailing, and Nano Valdés, from Mallorca, who joins our expedition after navigating for 4 months onboard the Snooty and the writer, Ester Casado, I am the Director’s assistant, at the European office of Oceana.